Club claim early bonus to claw past Caldy
A hat-trick of wins in eight days for James Shanahan after Blackheath’s victory last week at Cambridge, followed by leading Cambridge University to success in the Varsity Match on Thursday.
Nevertheless, the Club’s head coach was left with mixed feelings after this latest win, achieved thanks to an opening 26 minutes that saw all four of Blackheath’s tries, before Caldy fought back, dominating the second period.
‘Fantastic to go 26-3 up in less than half an hour, frustration thereafter,’ said Shanahan.
‘You can’t get more than five points, but it would be nice for us to play for 80 minutes, something we’re just not doing at the moment!’
Mike Perks was first to cross the try-line, the Club hooker showing a burst of pace after Josh Davies’ quickly-taken tap penalty on three minutes.
Caldy full-back Gavin Roberts responded with three points for the visitors straight after, but Leo Fielding’s break down the left flank following scrum ball on the half-way line saw Davies injecting speed, as the scrum-half cut inside to cross for a second score.
Markus Burcham ripped opposition possession continuously as Caldy conceded numerous turnovers in midfield, and with Fielding and Jake Lloyd making ground, this time on the right wing, Danny Herriott drove over from close range.
Then, as a penalty landed in touch, Tom Stradwick collected Perks’ line-out ball before the second-row himself dived over on the blind-side for the bonus point score, Joe Tarrant’s third conversion giving Blackheath a 26-3 advantage.
Nevertheless, it signalled the end of the hosts’ superiority.
A break from Caldy second-row Tom Sanders was halted illegally just short of the goal-line, and as Blackheath lost Tarrant for ten minutes, the visitors might have considered themselves unlucky not to be awarded a penalty try as the Club infringed twice at the set-scrum before ball was again turned-over.
The momentum remained with Caldy during the third quarter (even though Geoff Griffiths was bundled into touch just short on 48 minutes), though ironically it was only as Blackheath launched a move from their own half that the visitors scored, right-wing Nick Royle intercepting and racing home from 60-metres on the hour.
Replacement back-row Stuart Cross drove over from a tap-penalty for a second converted try on 76 minutes, bringing the visitors within range of a losing bonus point, but despite Blackheath finishing the game with thirteen men, a late penalty from Sam Evans ensured no opportunity for any further drama.
The victory moves Blackheath up to third position in the table as National League One approaches the half-way stage.
Next Saturday the Club make the short journey to near-rivals Old Elthamian. Kick-off at College Grove is at 2.00 pm
Tries: Perks, Davies, Herriott, Stradwick
Conv: Tarrant 3
Tries: Royle, Cross
Conv: Roberts 2
15 Leo Fielding
14 Geoff Griffiths
13 Markus Burcham (Capt)
12 Mark Cooke
11 Jake Lloyd
10 Joe Tarrant
9 Josh Davies
1 Haydon King
2 Mike Perks
3 Danny Herriott
4 Tom Stradwick
5 Anders Nilsson
6 Hugh McCormick-Houston
7 Harry Bate
8 Tom Baldwin
16 James Hallam
17 Kieron Scutt
18 Sam Farmer
19 Tom Chapman
20 Sam Evans